A title bid goes up in smoke


This is a picture that hardly requires a caption, but which all by itself speaks volumes about the state of the 2016 Formula One world championship.

It's clear from the body language alone that Lewis Hamilton can hardly believe what he's seeing. He was in a commanding position in the Malaysian Grand Prix on Sunday when suddenly - completely without warning to the driver or to the team - the Mercedes engine suddenly let go and spat flame and oil into turn 1.

"Oh no! No!" said a distraught Hamilton, who for several moments sat with his head in his hands in the cockpit of the stricken car before finally bowing to the reality and climbing out.

While he waited for the safety crews to arrive, together with the crane that would lift the car away from the track, all he could do is stare and wonder why this had happened to him once again, when the other drivers running Mercedes engines had enjoyed a trouble-free season.